Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:
With “The CDC’s mask guidance is a mess. Biden needs to clean it up.” (May 17), Leana Wen is becoming increasingly irrational and authoritarian in pushing for policies that require proof of vaccination.
The irrational: Wen asserts without evidence that eliminating mask mandates absent proof of vaccination “was a major blunder that threatens to set back much of the progress made.”
Wen’s likely reason for steering clear of facts is that the evidence runs counter to her assertion. For example, statewide mask mandates were eliminated in Texas on March 2nd. The 7-day-average Covid case count there has fallen ever since; it’s now a mere 29% of what it was on March 2nd. Over this same period Covid hospitalizations and deaths have also fallen. Similarly, the evidence from Florida is inconsistent with Wen’s insistence that failure to mandate masks without proof of vaccination imperils the public health.
The authoritarian: Wen protests that she’s “not saying the federal government should issue a ‘vaccine passport’; rather, it should help private entities set up a health and safety screen that incorporates proof of vaccination or testing in lieu of a vaccine verification.”
What, pray tell, is the real difference between “vaccine verification” and “proof of vaccination or testing”? In each case, individuals wishing to go about the ordinary affairs of life will be presumed to be carriers of a lethal pathogen until they provide evidence to the contrary. It’s appalling that Wen does not see such a requirement as being wholly incompatible with life in a free society.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030